I originally stated this in response to a post by Swivel in the Micro/Macro Evolution thread. Imagine if you will that you own a coal mine, steel mill, logging camp, or any other type of business that can be separated from the public by distance or walled enclosures. You need cheap labor. What do you do? Now imagine you can go to a local prison and buy the labor you need. You get your manpower and the State saves the expense associated with feeding, housing, and caring for a prisoner.
We hear complaints that the prisons are overcrowded. We hear complaints that the prison system is too lenient. We hear complaints that the system just makes more capable criminals and doesn’t rehabilitate. This would ease crowding in the prisons and reduce the need for new prisons. No one could say that the prisoners have it too easy and it could eliminate the “good behavior, time served, 25 year “life” sentence”. Once their indenture was served the prisoner would have a useful trade.
“That’s outlandish. That’s illegal. The courts would never allow it” you say? The truth is it’s not as far fetched as it sounds. The 13th Amendment, which freed the slaves reads:
“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The threat of prison does not deter today’s criminals. They know a fifteen year sentence means they’ll be out in three. For many it’s a vacation. Three hots and a cot. How many would be more likely to obey the law if fifteen years meant fifteen years and life really was life? It’s Constitutional. Even the Supreme Court would have to uphold it. Is it time to bring back slavery?